William H Whyte and the Social Life of Small Urban Spaces

The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces: William H. Whyte from Nelly Oli on Vimeo.

A contemporary of Jane Jacobs was William “Holly” Whyte, who through the Street Life Project in the 1960s and 1970s studied a number of Privately Owned Public Spaces or POPS, funded by the Municipal Art Society. A great introduction to Small Urban Spaces is the hour long video “The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces” which studied the Seagram Building Plaza at 375 Park Avenue in New York City. Lessons learned by the Street Life Project informed changes to the New York City’s POPS ordinance (see: www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/pops/plaza_standards.shtml) which we’ll cover in greater detail in a future post.

In addition to the Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, Holly Whyte was an accomplished author, writing The Organization Man in 1956.